Sharon Buchbinder dropped by today to tell us about her Class of '85 release Bonded For Life.

Before I begin with the Q & A, I would like to thank Melba Moon and the ladies of the Fuzzy Pink Slippers Blog for allowing me to be a guest today.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? What made you want to be an author?
I have always been a story-teller. As a child, I got into a lot of trouble for “making things up.” Now, I get rewarded for making things up. I love being able create heroes and heroines that people can relate to--even crazy cat ladies, as I did with Catastrophe, my first publication with The Wild Rose Press (WRP). I think most writers hate, hate, hate revisions. Yep. That’s me, too. But, the professional in me knows that if it makes a stronger story, then that’s what needs to be done. The hardest thing for me to decide is when are the revisions done? Fortunately, I have had some great editors with the WRP and they help me to bring the story to closure.

When did you decide to write romance and how long have you been at it? Also, have you written other genres?
I've been writing fiction since I was in middle school and have the rejection slips to prove it. In high school, I even submitted a script to “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” on yellow-lined paper in pencil. Not surprisingly, that was rejected that, too.

After I graduated with a BA in Psychology and no job, I realized my dreams of working in the attic writing great prose would have to take a back seat to the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, and having a roof over my head. Fast forward a few decades, and I had a career path that would make all but the kindest say, "What were you thinking?" After working in health care delivery for years, I became a researcher, then an academic. I had it all-- a terrific, supportive husband, an amazing son, and a wonderful job. But that itch to write (some call it obsession), kept beckoning me to "come on back" to writing fiction. In the summer of 2004, I spent one whole month away from Baltimore in Florida doing nothing but writing fiction. The resulting effort was the first of many drafts of my first novel, which is now hidden away in a deep, dark drawer.

As an academic, I published numerous non-fiction article and two textbooks. However, I found the road to publication in fiction to be much harder. After I published some short stories in horror and mystery, my friend, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, recommended I join the Maryland Romance Writers (MRW). I joined in 2005 and found friendship, support and the opportunity to develop as an author with MRW and the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Since romance has over a dozen sub-genres, I was able to turn my fascination with horror and mystery into paranormal romance and romantic suspense. I was home.

How do you get over writer’s block?
Most of the time, I have writer’s logorrhea--too many ideas and not enough time. On occasion, I’ve had to stop working on a story to hit deadlines for other projects. That can be a good respite, as when I go back to review the story, I find issues with it and begin the revisions right away. On the rare occasion when I am stuck with where I should go next with a character or a plot, I will write the key questions down before I go to bed and let my dreaming self work on it. That’s been a very helpful technique.

How do you come up with your ideas
?
When Kathy Cottrell, the Senior Editor of the Last Rose of Summer line asked me if I’d be interested in creating a story for the Class of ’85, I already had a Latina I really liked from another story. I thought it would be fun if that character could have a cousin who spent her senior year at Summerville High School. And, I have always loved the name Lola Getz. Likewise, I have always been fascinated by heroes who go from the “97 pound weakling” to a muscle man. And, I believe every graduating class has at least one of those guys. Webster (formerly the “Dweebster”) Bond is just such a guy in Bonded for Life, my short story coming on 9/22/10 with the Class of ’85 series.

How did you find a publisher?
I found the Wild Rose Press in 2007 on an Internet search. They were not interested in my first novel--but the editor gave me extensive feedback on the first five pages. I was so impressed by their willingness to work with new authors that I just kept going back. To date, I have contracted three short stories and three novellas with them: Catastrophe, Pigmalion, The Lake Placid Cure, Bonded for Life, Kiss of the Silver Wolf and An Inn Decent Proposal (also the Class of ’85 Series).

On average, how long does it take to write your books?
My short story, Bonded for Life, took about three months while working a 60 plus hour a week day job. Kiss of the Silver Wolf is a novella that started as a short story in 2004--then I put it away, then took it out and reworked it, then put it away, then rewrote and revised it again and again and again. Thanks to Amanda Barnett and her patience and faith in that story, Kiss of the Silver Wolf is in production as we speak.

Who’s your favorite author to read? Favorite book?
I’m an omnivore when it comes to books. I grew up reading Nancy Drew and everything by Heinlein and Bradbury--then I fell in love with King and Koontz. And, then Katherine Neville blew me out of the water with The Eight. I’ve read that book about eight times. Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth is one book I’d take with me on a desert island. I read John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire on a Chicago city bus, and laughed out loud so hard, the entire bus was staring at me. Oh and how could I forget Caleb Carr and the Alienist or Angel of Darkness? And Janet Evanovich and all her Stephanie Plum books. And Nora Roberts and JD Robb and Heather Graham and Linda Howard and Lisa Ruff and Kathy Love and Christie Kelly and Nalini Singh and Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krantz…and I should stop now.

How do you cope with rejection?
I would like to pretend that I am an adult and ever the professional when I receive a rejection. That would be a lie. I read the letter. I put it in a drawer. I allow myself to feel bad for a little while. I don’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity. That is a waste of time. After a week, I will go back and read the letter again. I will find one nugget of praise, like, “You are a strong writer” and hang onto that. Then I will look at what the agent or editor thought was weak and take that into consideration for revisions and for future stories.

What themes go through your books?

Most of my stories revolve around journeys of discovery of one’s true self and how family and love fits into one’s identity. In Bonded for Life, Lola Getz is a famous artist, blissfully oblivious to the drug cartel wars all around her--until they blow up literally in her backyard. She escapes to the safest little town in the world--Summerville. Instead of being cocooned, she finds herself confronted by some things about her family and has to decide what that means to her and her future.

What would you like to tell readers?
I hope I keep my promise to you as an author and that my stories move you to laughter, anxiety, suspense, tears and the sigh of a satisfying ending. Thank you for reading my stories.
And many thanks for allowing me to be here today on the Fuzzy Pink Slippers blog!
Sharon
Sharon Buchbinder
http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com/
Fireworks for the Mind--Surprising and Sizzling!

26 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // September 18, 2010 at 12:41 AM  

    Morning, Sharon!

    Welcome to our blog! I have a feeling we'd have gotten along well as kids. I can't wait to find check out your stories.

  2. Sharon Buchbinder // September 18, 2010 at 8:00 AM  

    Good morning, Mary. Yes, I was sent to my room many times. Glad to know you would have been there, too, LOL.

  3. Donna L Bolk // September 18, 2010 at 8:15 AM  

    Good Morning Sharon,

    One mention of Lola and now I have Barry Manilow dancing around in my head and singing Copacaban. And goodness know the man can't dance. Bonded for life, sounds great. I'll be getting my copy on the 22nd.

  4. Anonymous // September 18, 2010 at 9:35 AM  

    I am lucky enough to be one of Sharon's critique group partners, so I've gotten a preview of both these stories--and I'd highly recommend them! I am particularly partial to Kiss of the Silver Wolf, since I'm a big paranormal fan! I'm looking forward to more and more good stuff from you, Sharon!!

    Beth W.

  5. Jannine Gallant // September 18, 2010 at 10:07 AM  

    Great interview Sharon! Those revisions can make you crazy, but I tend to edit everything to death! Looking forward to Bonded for Life.

  6. Rachel Brimble // September 18, 2010 at 10:16 AM  

    Hi Sharon,

    Can't wait for your release, sounds great - love your cover too, did Nicola do yours too?? You really made me smile with your list of authors you like to read, I am exactly the same!
    People don't understand that even though we write romance, its doesn't mean that's all we read, LOL!

    Rachel x
    www.rachelbrimble.com

  7. Judy // September 18, 2010 at 10:16 AM  

    Great to have you here, Sharon! Love that you're a natural-born storyteller! I, too, wrote stories from early on. Congratulations on all your stories!

  8. Anonymous // September 18, 2010 at 12:02 PM  

    Love your new covers! They're much more exciting than your "professor" books ;-> and I know the stories are. -Teresa H

  9. Silver James // September 18, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

    Sharon, as soon as I finish the Reunion stories already out, it will just about be time for yours! I'll be able to jump right on it and read it. The Class of '85 is such a great premise!

  10. Sharon Buchbinder // September 18, 2010 at 1:46 PM  

    @Donna--Yes, there's that Lola ;] and the Lola in DAMN YANKEES ("Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets...") now that will be your earwig du jour. LOL!

    @Beth--And I thank you for all your critting--you are a great CP!

    @Jannine--Thanks! Hope you enjoy it and thanks for your help on the next one ;)

  11. Sharon Buchbinder // September 18, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

    @Rachel--YES, Nicola has sooo much talent. She did the artwork on both covers. Smokin'!

    @Judy--Thanks for the warm fuzzy welcome. You ladies are da bomb.

    @Theresa--C'mon, I only had to put toothpicks in your eyes ONCE when you looked at the textbooks. :-D

    @Silver--Thanks and I am hot to trot to read yours, too!

  12. Celia Yeary // September 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM  

    SHARON--I love series, and the Class of 85 series is already shaping up to be a big one. I was on the Wayback, Texas series, and that group of books were wildly popular. They finally shut down the town after, I think, 16 stories. I'll be checking this one out, and congratulations!!
    Celia

  13. Sharon Buchbinder // September 18, 2010 at 2:55 PM  

    Hi Celia--

    I vividly recall the Wayback Series. Hot hunky cowboys. Yum! Class of '85 is so much fun and still looking for stories if you're itching to saddle up and ride into Summerville. ;)

  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel // September 18, 2010 at 5:29 PM  

    Absolutely love the name Lola Getz! Can't wait to read this one.

    Just got home from this months GRW meeting in Atlanta. Sorry I'm late checking in, but it doesn't look like you've been lonely Sharon! I now have two goals for what is left of the weekend, read the '85ers and write my own! I am so enjoying these posts. All the stories are great and the covers awesome! Makes the fuzzies look real purty!

    Ciao

    Scarlet

  15. Bianca Swan // September 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

    Glad I dropped by to read your post Sharon! I enjoyed "meeting" you. The cover for Kiss of the Silver Wolf is beautiful.

  16. Sharon Buchbinder // September 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

    @Scarlet--Thanks for popping in--and glad you're planning to join the fun with the Class of '85 series!

    @Bianca--Nice meeting you too. We are so lucky to have Nicola Martinez as our cover artist!

  17. Kathy Cottrell // September 18, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

    Like Mizz Scarlett, I'm just home from our chapter conference, which was a huge hit--and a huge amount of work.
    Loved what you had to say, Shar.
    From the first page of Lake Placid Cure, you've never disappointed me.
    Kathy

  18. Mary Marvella // September 18, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

    You're doing a great job, Sharon. I was with Scarlet at the GRW meeting.

  19. Sharon Buchbinder // September 18, 2010 at 10:15 PM  

    @Kathy--Thank you for your kind words. You're are a terrific editor. I think we may have been separated at birth. =]

    @Mary--Thank you and all your peeps for coming out to the fuzzies today! Glad you and Kathy had a great time at the conference.

  20. Joanne // September 19, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

    Thank you, Scarlet, for hosting Sharon on our blog. Your stories sound so interesting, and I admire you for also working 60 hour weeks in between writing!

  21. P.L. Parker // September 19, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

    Took me awhile to get here. So busy these days. I feel the same way about rejections. I wallow but then I try to find some positive in them. Gets easier as time goes by. Working full time and writing do have their problems.

  22. Sharon Buchbinder // September 19, 2010 at 7:27 PM  

    @Joanne--Thank you for your kind words. I must confess, my fiction kept me sane! I quit the day job in July, am now an educational consultant. LOVING IT!

    @PL Parker--Yes, rejection sucks--but it does mean we are out there pitching! =]

  23. Jana Richards // September 20, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

    Hi Sharon,
    I'm working my way through the Class of '85 series and can hardly wait to read yours. And I can hardly wait to finish my own story and submit it to the series.

    Best of luck with "Bonded for Life".

    Jana

  24. Sharon Buchbinder // September 20, 2010 at 8:48 PM  

    Thanks, Jana. We'd love to have our people talk to your people. =]

  25. Stacy Dawn // September 21, 2010 at 12:57 PM  

    Hey Sharon!

    I love reading other writers stories of the process LOL.

  26. Sharon Buchbinder // September 21, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

    Stacy--Me, too! I guess that makes me a voyeur! LOL!